Teenager George meets leaders of mental health charity

Ponteland High School pupil George Hunter with Oliver Wood, Stuart Dexter and Tina Hilpert from Tynesdide and Northumberland MIND.' Picture by Jane Coltman

Ponteland High School pupil George Hunter with Oliver Wood, Stuart Dexter and Tina Hilpert from Tynesdide and Northumberland MIND.' Picture by Jane Coltman

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A Ponteland teenager who did an eye-catching activity to raise awareness of mental health issues has met top officials from a charity.

George Hunter launched his My Tie Diary campaign in September 2014, which involved wearing a different tie for every day of the school year.

He received a plethora of donated ties and many of them helped out his fund-raising for good causes, including national mental health charity Mind.

He recently met Stuart Dexter, chief executive of Tyneside and Northumberland Mind, Oliver Wood, vice chair of the trustees, and Tina Hilpert, the charity’s mental health youth coach.

The 18-year-old school president at Pont High said: “I attended the charity’s AGM last year and during a conversation with one of its team, I suggested it would be a good idea to have a formal meeting.

“I found out more about the services it provides and I raised the importance of having sessions in schools to discuss mental health and related issues because the support for young people isn’t as good as it should be in the region and across the country.

“The support for My Tie Diary was fantastic. I received more than 3,500 ties in total and there were donations from famous people and groups including Alan Shearer, Union J and members of the England rugby squad.

“I took quite a few of them to a WI craft group and they made them into items such as purses, pillows and glasses cases, which were sold at fairs and events to help with the fund-raising.”

Tyneside and Northumberland Mind operates as part of the Local Mind Network.

Mr Dexter said: “We had a really good chat with George, who has done a great deal to raise awareness, and we agree with him that young people in Northumberland are poorly served with mental health services and education.

“We’re looking to develop new projects to help young people in the area, such as potentially offering a useful app using digital platforms.”